OHCHR Releases New Annual Report
Tuesday, May 29, 2007 11:07 AM

Geneva, 25 May 2007

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has released its 2006 Annual Report, providing a detailed account of the increasing range and impact of its human rights work around the world. The document uses charts, personal stories and photographs to portray the work of the Office.

The 2006 report reviews the implementation of the 2006-2007 Strategic Management Plan during the first half of the biennium, using the performance indicators set out in the document to gauge progress. For the first time, this year's report covers the entirety of the Office's work—including both those elements funded under the United Nations regular budget and those funded from voluntary contributions, mostly from governments. The document uses charts, personal stories and photographs to portray the work of the Office while providing examples of OHCHR's work in a plain and friendly style.

2006 marked the beginning of a new chapter for OHCHR and for the United Nations human rights programme. While the most visible change was the launch, in June, of a new intergovernmental body, the Human Rights Council, for OHCHR the year also witnessed other significant developments, including the release of its first Strategic Management Plan (SMP), which set out a raft of reforms designed to strengthen the Office and reinforce human rights as a key pillar of the United Nations system, alongside security and development.

As anticipated, 2006 saw a significant expansion of OHCHR, with 212 additional staff recruited—158 in the field, 51 in Geneva —bring the total number of OHCHR staff to some 850. In line with the priorities listed in the SMP, the Office's capacity was strengthened in several key areas, including:

•  Country engagement: OHCHR's network of field offices, both country and regional, was reinforced, and a new, dedicated rapid response unit established to enable the Office to deploy experts to the field and conduct investigative missions at short notice; as a result, country engagement was reflected in a number of policy, legislative and institutional changes introduced at the national level.

•  Leadership: A new communications section was established , the New York Office strengthened, and steps taken to expand in-house expertise on key thematic issues, including women's human rights, the Millennium Development Goals and the right to development; this helped in strengthening the High Commissioner's unique position to shape the international human rights agenda.

•  Partnerships: A new civil society unit was established, and collaboration with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs and development and humanitarian agencies, funds and programmes was strengthened, including through participation in interagency bodies, deployment of Human Rights Advisers to UN Country Teams and more than 240 international Human Rights Officers serving in integrated peace missions; establishing partnerships has contributed to mainstreaming human rights.

•  United Nations human rights bodies: The transition to the new Human Rights Council was supported and steps taken to better integrate the work of the treaty bodies and special procedures mandate-holders into the broader work of the Office, especially at the country level;

•  Planning and management: A new Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Section was established and a number of senior new management posts recruited; strengthening OHCHR's management and planning capabilities was instrumental in achieving wider objectives.

The work described in this report was only made possible with the generous support of donors, whose voluntary contributions continue to provide close to two thirds of OHCHR's overall funding. 2006 was OHCHR's strongest year yet in terms of the overall level of contributions, which rose by $17 million to $85.3 million. Equally encouraging was the increase in the proportion of funds provided free of earmarking, which rose from 25 to 37 percent. This increase in donor support has been important in enabling the Office to move forward with the ambitious plans set out in the High Commissioner's Plan of Action and by world leaders at the 2005 World Summit.

Published in: OHCHR Releases New Annual Report, Press Release, UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, 25 May 2007.